Editorial: Plenty of benefits in green scripts
Sunday, May 26, 2013
As a society we are accustomed to searching for quick-fix solutions to complex problems.
In many ways the pace of modern life demands that we take this approach to our daily tasks and challenges.
There is an urgency to sort things out quickly in order to move on to the next thing item on the agenda.
These quick fixes are often a poor substitute to permanent solutions, especially when it comes to matters of health and wellbeing.
That's why it is good to see the popularity of drug-free green prescriptions is rising in the Bay of Plenty.
This week we reported that 2187 green prescriptions had been issued in the region since July 2012 and Sport Bay of Plenty was receiving 243 referrals a month.
The green prescription programme was established in 1998 and is a health professional's written advice to a patient or their family to encourage and support them becoming more physically active.
The scheme encourages GPs to target medical conditions associated with inactivity, and has now been used by more than 80 per cent of family doctors.
A Ministry of Health survey of more than 3100 patients last year found weight (56 per cent) was the most common reason patients were issued a prescription.
Six to eight months after receiving their prescription, 55 per cent of patients were more active than they were before, 73 per cent noticed positive changes in their health and 65 per cent had made changes to their diet (22 per cent by decreasing portion sizes).
The scheme helped Ohauiti's Lisa Fowler lose 11kg and get her health back on track.
Miss Fowler says the programmes have helped her health problems as she is now sleeping better and her moods are improving.
She has lost 11kg in the three months since she started and results of a recent blood test show she no longer has signs of pre-diabetes.
While a pill might treat the symptoms of many illnesses it does not address the cause and that is what is so effective about green prescriptions.
They help people improve their lifestyle. It takes effort on the patient's behalf to improve their health and instill a sense of achievement when they reach their goals.
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